Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Ledecky Debunks Age-Old Swimming Myth

by Madison Miller

Now that the Team USA athletes from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are back at home, it seems like no better time than to tap into a “MythBusters” state of mind.

Katie Ledecky had a pretty busy and eventful time representing Team USA Swimming in Tokyo. The 24-year-old left the Olympics with two gold medals as well as two silver medals. She’s in the midst of an epic and historic swimming career, seeing as many people also consider her one of the greatest swimmers of all time.

Ledecky Debunks Myth

Recently, the star Olympian visited “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” The late-night talk show host had a burning question he had to get off his chest. It happens to be one many people often think about as well — Is it true you have to wait after eating before you can swim?

“I think we can debunk the myth, you can eat before you swim … wouldn’t recommend you go out and have a huge pizza with your daughters before you go for a swim, but I mean I eat granola bars before I swim within like five or ten minutes of a race. I drink chocolate milk right after I swim … in Tokyo, I had two races about an hour apart and I was eating and drinking,” Ledecky said to Fallon.

The swimmer said that especially at the competitive stage, food is needed as fuel before a grueling and fast race. For example, she said she made sure to eat before her 1500-meter freestyle event, seeing as it’s about 15-and-a-half minutes of swimming.

Katie Ledecky is a seven-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist and also has 15 World Champion titles under her belt.

One of her favorite things is chocolate milk, which she will often be spotted sipping on. It’s a staple after practices.

“This has been my go-to post-workout recovery beverage since I was 13 years old. I remember being a young swimmer when someone explained that drinking chocolate milk for recovery gives my body nutrients it needs to refuel. Since then, I make sure to keep one in my lunchbox daily and drink it after a tough workout,” Ledecky said, according to Pure Wow.

Katie Ledecky Reflects on Time at the Tokyo Olympics

In all accounts, the Olympics are a grueling, time-consuming, and pressure-filled experience. This year, mental health was a major focus at the Games.

Ledecky has similarly felt the pressures and exhaustion that coexists with the experience. She has spent long periods of time away from her family and changed her training plan around COVID-19 restrictions.

“(The medals) just represent a lot of hard work, not just for me, but for my family, my friends, my coaches, my teammates, just everyone that’s been a part of this journey, not just the past five years, but my whole swimming career. And it’s an amazing feeling to be bringing home two golds and two silvers here and competing in my third Olympics. That’s something I never would have imagined when I first started swimming,” Ledecky told CNN.

Ledecky also spoke out about the pressure and the fact that “everyone around the world is watching.” However, she just tries to remember life beyond the pool.

“There’s so much more to life than swimming and the Olympics, and the people around me remind me of that,” Ledecky also said.